Day 14. Putting The “Social” In The “Social Anxiety.”

Today I’m feeling inspired by a post of a fellow sufferer who also decided to start blogging. She wrote about the feelings of social anxiety and why we sometimes go to these ridiculous lengths of trying to be liked.

Ooof. Been there, done that. That post sure did kick off all kinds of memories and I ended up realising something new about my current situation. We humans are social creatures whether we like it or not. We need to be a part of a social group even if we are thoroughly mortified by the idea of finding ourselves in the middle of any social occasion. When as a teenager I first found myself in this new unfamiliar environment known as the Western society, I went so far overboard trying to fit in that I quite literally lost sight of who I was as a person. I wore clothes that I did not like and listened to music that I hated and it still was not enough to feel accepted. That continued for longer that one would care to admit; and then the pendulum swung so far the other way… Eventually I went through a bit of a meltdown and I just stopped caring what anyone thought of me to the point of becoming antisocial. It was not quite an attitude of a sociopath but it was far from being healthy either. I started to feel that social conventions were somehow beneath me and that it was far more important to be myself. And apparently the self I have found was a dick when it came to social conventions.

That self importance was the beginning of my current downfall. Or rather not so much the attitude itself but more the fact that I have been using it the same way I’ve been using my hobbies obsessions: an excuse not to do the things I don’t feel like doing. Pair that avoidance technique with an unhealthy contempt for complying with social conventions. I thought of it as being my own man, an non-conformist. That attitude has cost me dearly. It cost me an interest of the woman I have fallen in love with. When she looked at me she saw all kinds of things she couldn’t stand instead of a man she could love. She tried to hint at things but I was too proud, too full of myself. So now all that is left is to try to pick up the pieces and try to move on. It is important to keep in mind what the social conventions are if we are to be a part of society. Because like it or not, we do need the society more than the society need us. Now it is easy to say that we should be ourselves and not care too much what others think of us. To that I respond: depends on who is doing the judging. Beware of the fact that if you only surround yourself with people like you, you may not enjoy the result.

I am lucky for knowing so many wonderful people who have been so generous with their time, and advice, and general support. (Who knew there would be so many damaged people in the arts community?) I am also lucky for being able to understand a lot of these things before I could have damaged myself much more or completely disintegrated. There definitely are some people I see in my life that could have used some of this enlightenment. It is my sincere hope that some of these blog posts will be of value not only to myself but to others as well.

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